Today, Center for the Future of Arizona (CFA) released new findings on water & environment as part of their ongoing reveal of the Arizona Voters’ Agenda. The Voters’ Agenda identifies what likely voters prioritize in Arizona’s midterm General Election and what they want to hear from candidates campaigning for votes. The most recent survey of likely Republican, Democratic, and independent/unaffiliated voters of all ages was conducted in late August and builds on survey research released earlier this year.
The newly released data from the Arizona Voters’ Agenda strongly reinforces prior survey findings that the majority of Arizona voters care deeply about the environment and want to see plans for sustainable solutions to preserve and protect the state’s natural resources. The results also show that voters don’t believe the state has enough water for the long-term and support taking action by investing funding in specific water and broader environmental solutions.
“Arizona’s future success depends on addressing the water needs of our diverse state, including water used for recreation and conservation, agriculture, and supporting economic and population growth,” said Dr. Sybil Francis, President & CEO of CFA. “Water and environmental concerns have long been important to Arizonans and candidates for office could help voters better understand their plans and solutions on these issues.”
The first Arizona Voters’ Agenda survey released earlier this year shows near-unanimous support among likely voters for securing long-term water supplies and identified specific spending and policy measures supported by a large majority of voters, like preventing forest fires and improving air quality. The recent follow-up survey sought more insight into voters’ outlook on water supplies, their priorities for using current water supplies, and their thoughts on addressing concerns through specific investment opportunities.
Nearly three-fourths of all likely voters do not believe Arizona has enough water for the long-term. When asked, “Do you believe that the State of Arizona will have enough water for residents, agriculture, industry, and other businesses for the next 100 years?” 73% of all likely voters say no, 18% say yes, and 9% say they don’t know.
Regarding how likely voters would prioritize using the state’s current water supplies, the latest survey found voter priorities somewhat equally divided between water for recreation, agriculture, and growth. Overall, likely voters say the top priorities for Arizona’s current water supplies are “ensuring that rivers and natural waterways have enough water to sustain wildlife and recreation,” “sustaining rural agriculture,” and “making sure Arizona’s population can continue to grow.”
When it comes to taking action to address water and other environmental concerns, CFA probed the outlook of likely voters in applying available federal funds to address these priorities. Investing available funding is highly supported by a large majority of likely voters across all political affiliations and age groups. In all, 85% of likely voters support the policy of using funding Arizona is eligible to receive “to address environmental and water issues, including drought resiliency, clean air, energy improvement in rural areas, electric grid resiliency, and forest fire management.” This includes support from 75% of Republicans, 88% of independents/unaffiliated voters, and 95% of Democrats.
“The bottom line is voters agree that Arizona has real challenges to face when it comes to our natural environment and resources and believe the state needs to do something about it,” said Dr. Francis. “They want to hear what candidates plan to do to protect our collective air, land, and water future as they decide whom to support with their vote. This is an opportunity for candidates to address a topic that most voters care about very much, including nearly all independent and unaffiliated voters,” said Dr. Francis.
CFA worked with HighGround Public Affairs to develop the Arizona Voters’ Agenda surveys, which were conducted in April and late August. The surveys polled likely Republican, Democratic, and independent/unaffiliated voters in the 2022 Arizona General Election with a history of electoral participation and were balanced to model the likely turnout of voters across party, age, region, and gender.
As candidates compete for votes, the Arizona Voters’ Agenda highlights an essential set of questions for forum moderators, voters, and the general public to ask. Regarding water & environment, begin with at least one big question based on the data showing where Arizonans have a strong agreement: “How should Arizona invest available funding for drought resiliency, clean air, energy improvement in rural areas, electric grid resiliency, and forest fire management?”
Get all survey findings, the Arizona Voters’ Agenda, more questions to ask candidates as they compete for votes, and more at arizonafuture.org/azvotersagenda.
About the Arizona Voters’ Agenda
CFA is focused on bringing Arizonans together around a positive agenda based on where they agree on priorities to move the state forward. The Arizona Voters’ Agenda was launched as an extension of CFA’s survey research efforts to identify and create The Arizona We Want.
The organization is bringing awareness to the findings from the Arizona Voters’ Agenda surveys to put the voices of Arizona voters at the forefront, get candidates and the media to reframe election discussions on what Arizonans agree on and care about for our state, and increase voter engagement by building a positive agenda that focuses on solutions desired by Arizonans across age, region, and political affiliation.
CFA analyzed the statewide survey data to determine which issues make the cut for the Arizona Voters’ Agenda guide of policy items and value statements supported by voters. Issues on the Arizona Voters’ Agenda meet all of the following criteria:
- “Strongly Agree/Support” is 50% and above among All Likely Voters and
- Total Support (i.e., the sum of “Somewhat Agree/Support” and “Strongly Agree/ Support”) is 50% and above among every political affiliation (Republican, Independent/Unaffiliated, and Democrat) and age group (20-29, 30-39, 40-49, 50-64, 65+).
|The Arizona Voters’ Agenda – Water & Environment|
|Policy Items||Strongly Support||Total Support|
|Securing Arizona’s water future and addressing our long-term drought.||83%||95%|
|Preserving and protecting Arizona’s rivers, natural areas, and wildlife.||80%||96%|
|Increasing investments and measures to prevent forest fires on state land.||71%||93%|
|Improving air quality.||62%||88%|
|Investing available funding to address environmental and water issues, including drought resiliency, clean air, energy improvement in rural areas, electric grid resiliency, and forest fires.||55%||85%|
|Value Statements||Strongly Agree||Total Agree|
|The drought only continues to worsen. It has increased the intensity of our fire season and forced a declaration of water shortage on Lake Mead. We need to do something to protect our water future and secure our long-term water supplies.||74%||94%|
|We must support sustainable practices that protect our air, land, and water, and foster a high quality of life for all.||65%||90%|
Political and age group breakdowns and more questions for candidates are available at ArizonaFuture.org/ArizonaVotersAgenda.
About the Arizona Voters’ Agenda Surveys
The Arizona Voters’ Agenda surveys were conducted among likely voters on April 12-19, 2022, and August 24, 2022, with a random sample of 500 people for each survey. The polls surveyed likely Arizona 2022 General Election voters with a history of electoral participation and were balanced to model the likely turnout of voters across party, age, region, and gender. The live interview surveys of voters were conducted in English and Spanish by HighGround Public Affairs to landline and cell phone users. Based on previous midterm election trends, the partisan advantage was set at +8% GOP. The margin of error is ±4.3%.
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